During my childhood days I had a couple people in my world that provided an exposure to foods beyond the typical everyday fare. My late grandfather was one of those people. He loved liverwurst, salsa, headcheese, salty nuts, alcohol, and sweets. He use to get upset at me because I’d eat all of his special foods and leave him none. He didn’t expect his little granddaughter to eat all of his headcheese! One food or condiment he loved was spicy pickled peppers better known as pickled jalapeno escabeche. These peppers were tangy from the vinegar, sweet from the brine filled with carrots and onions and spicy because the peppers were jalapenos. He’d have a jar hidden on the door of the refrigerator. I’d eventually discover the hidden jar and clear it of all jalapenos so all that remained were onions and carrots.
Over the years I’ve developed a great love for these spicy tangy peppers and today I need to eat them with everything! Unfortunately the store bought versions are filled with unhealthy sodium (sodium is healthy but in the right form and the right amounts), vegetables grown from who knows where and covered with who knows what (produce shipped from long distances covered in chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, and other gmo concerns). In addition to the unknown ingredients/chemicals in the store bought version you’re also dealing with the chemicals that come along with processing store bought foods in cans. In line with our goals of eating local food, organic food, from scratch food, and food with minimal ingredients I decided to make and can pickled jalapeno escabeche on my own. With a few basic ingredients this has been the easiest pickled and canned recipe I’ve made in a while.
I wish my grandpa was still here so he could enjoy my homemade version of his favorite spicy snack. He’d be so proud of the healthy alternative we’re enjoying now. As mentioned, in line with our goals of eating homemade, home canned, local, organic, seasonal foods we choose to can enough pickled jalapeno escabeche that will last us till jalapenos are in season again next year. How many pints is this do you ask? Well, I’m not sure yet since last year was the first year we attempted to make this recipe and start canning the jalapenos. This year I’ve canned an ample amount and we’re already enjoying the fruits of our labor. We’ve got a couple more weeks of peppers and the season is done. Just think to how often you eat these peppers. Some enjoy them on everything and some only enjoy them on certain things… nachos come to mind (= If you eat a jar a week… consider how many weeks you’ve got till jalapenos are in season again. 52 jars. That might be a bit much but giving you an idea of planning. If you eat a can a month then that might be a more reasonable approach. This recipe will provide you 6 to 8 pints of canned pickled jalapeno escabeche.
The following recipe is fun because it is versatile. I’ve seen versions with dried herbs and other vegetables that stand up to high temperatures. This is your basic pickled jalapeno recipe that I’ve compiled of various versions found across the interwebs. Adjust it as you like. Included in the recipe are basic instructions for water bath canning for long term storage. Enjoy pickled jalapeno escabeche!
* = organic (or GMO free)
¤ = local
Pickled Jalapeno Escabeche
1 pound fresh jalapenos (use serranos or even habaneros if you’re brave) *¤
1 bunch carrots (6 or more medium sized) *¤
1 onion (I prefer white but you can use any kind) *¤
10 cloves garlic *¤
1/3 cup olive oil *
2 tablespoons kosher salt (or sea salt)
2 tablespoons cane sugar (I use Florida Crystals a carbon free company. I’ve also tested coconut sugar, which works well) *
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 cup water (optional to cut the zing of the vinegar)
6-8 sterilized pint mason jars + lids & rings
1 large water bath canning pot
2 tablespoons white vinegar (optional, add to canning water)
Step 1: Prepare your water bath canner and jars according to your manufacture instructions. In this instance I am using 6 to 8 pint sized mason jars, lids and rings. I prepare my oversized aluminum canner with hot water and 2 tablespoons white vinegar. I crank the temperature to high so it will be close to if not already boiling by the time I’m ready to fill the jars. With my jar grabber I place each jar, rings & lids removed, into the heating water. I will let the water fill the jars as they enter the pot. I fill a separate small pot with water and add the lids to get warm. Do not boil the lids.
Step 2: Prepare your ingredients. You may cut rings or leave the peppers whole. If you leave the peppers whole make sure to cut a small slit in each to allow the juices to penetrate later in the cooking time. Set peppers aside. Clean and chop carrots. You can cut circles or on the bias and not too thin or they will fall apart in the cooking process. Set aside. Clean one onion. Cut in half and then cut slices. The thickness is your choice but keep in mind the thinner onion slice will fall apart sooner in the cooking process. Set aside. Clean 10 cloves of garlic and thinly slice. Set aside.
Step 3: Heat up olive oil in a medium sized stock pot. Add the peppers to the hot oil and stir making sure to coat all of the peppers with oil. Add carrots, onions, garlic, and continue to stir, coating all of the vegetables. Next add the kosher salt and sugar and incorporate well. Sauté the vegetables till soft, roughly 10 minutes. Next add in the white and cider vinegars and stir well. If you like less of a tangy pepper you may add a cup of water to dilute the vinegar. Cook the vegetables till soft and the color has muted almost to an olive green (in the case of jalapenos or seranos), roughly 10 minutes. Once your vegetables are cooked through, remove from heat and begin preparation of filling your jars for canning. NOTE: If you don’t plan on canning and instead eating these right away, I would cook them for an additional 10 – 15 minutes to ensure a soft pepper. Otherwise your peppers will be crunchy and possibly too spicy. The canning process helps to cook them through further. END NOTE
Step 4: Now it’s time to fill your jars. At this point the water bath is close to if not already boiling. Turn the water down just for the moment you’ll be handling the jars. Drain the small pot with lids and set lids into rings in preparation to top jars. With you jar grabber, remove one jar at a time from the hot water in the canning pot and place onto a clean towel. Make sure to pour out any excess water from the jar back into the canning pot. I like to use the canning funnel, which allows for easy filling of the jars with minimal mess. Place the funnel in your first jar and fill with vegetables and liquid. Make sure the liquid covers the vegetables and ensure there is a one inch head space between the vegetables and the rim of the jar. Remove the funnel and wipe the rim of the jar to ensure there is no debris that will impact the lid’s seal. Place a lid and ring on the jar and close till just barely tight. Too tight or too loose and the seal won’t work. With the jar grabber place the filled jar back into the boiling water and repeat with all jars till full. Once you’re done filling the jars bring the water back up to a full boil and start your timer for 15 minutes. NOTE: Make sure you start the time when the water is at a full boil and not before. Also note that you must have at least 1 to 2 inches of boiling water above the lids of the jars while in the canning pot. 10 minutes for ½ pints. 15 minutes for pints. 20 minutes for quarts. END NOTE
Step 5: Once the timer is complete at 15 minutes turn off the heat and with your jar grabber carefully remove each jar and place on a towel in an unobstructed area free from roaming pets, wild kids, and breezes. The jars must sit overnight (24hrs) for a complete seal. Depending on the manufacturer (in my case Ball) you’ll hear the POP of the seal when it’s complete but it’s best to leave the jars overnight to ensure the seal is complete. For long term storage remove the rings of the lids before storing away and do not stack the jar. WHY you ask… because if a seal fails the ring will allow it to re-seal and then you’ll never know until opening the jar if you’re food has spoiled. Same process applies to stacking. Without a ring or object blocking the way you’ll know immediately if a seal has failed.
Step 6: ENJOY! When people ask me what they would eat these peppers with I remind them of nachos or burritos and then it clicks and they realize these tasty peppers are absolutely wonderful with most any meal. Need to add an extra spicy tangy condiment to your meals… add pickled jalapenos escabeche. Enjoy!